Emirati women now account for 27.95 per cent of the national labour force, marking an annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent between 1985 and 2005. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE leadership is committed to empowering women and investing in their skills for the growth of the country's economy. Therefore, the UAE government provides Emirati women with all facilities that are required to encourage creativity, initiative and decision making.

Due to the relentless efforts of the government to uplift women, Emirati women are today at the forefront in both the government and private sectors.

Emirati women now account for 27.95 per cent of the national labour force, marking an annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent between 1985 and 2005.

On an educational level, nearly half the pupils registered in over 1,250 schools across the UAE are girls; about 75 per cent of all students in the UAE University are women; and three out of every five students in the public higher education system are women. As for women's contribution to the political sphere, 22.5 per cent of the Federal National Council (FNC) members are women, exceeding the global average of 17 per cent.

Women in the UAE account for 66 per cent of the governmental workforce and hold 30 per cent of senior jobs at the decision-making level. They account for 15 per cent of the teaching staff at the UAE University. They also account for 60 per cent of the workforce in medical care, education, nursing and pharmacy. They have made inroads in the armed forces, police and customs.

Among the Arab countries, the UAE tops the list in female education.

According to a report by the Arab Thought Foundation, the UAE has achieved the highest level of female university education.

Primary education is compulsory and education is free at all levels within the country. Female enrolment reached 76 per cent in the UAE, the highest in Arab countries, followed by Bahrain 68 per cent. Moreover, a report issued by Price Waterhouse Coopers and discussed at the Arab Youth Forum in Dubai showed that the UAE tops the list worldwide in higher education for women.

Four ministers

UAE has four women ministers, two ambassadors, a judge and a marriage registrar. Emirati women were the first in the Gulf to reach a parliamentary position.

The UAE has also joined most international agreements which provide protection of women's rights. UAE law allows women to organise civic society associations. These now exceed 20 social, cultural and religious groups that the General Women Union and Family Development Foundation and other women related communities head.

Emirati women have also succeeded in securing a position within the financial sector with the establishment of the Business Women Council. It has 12,000 members and they run 11,000 investment projects, amounting to Dh12 billion of investment.